Glen McCarthy Traveled to Many States for Guitar Education

Posted on August 28, 2019 by Zi Wang

When the summer arrives, Academy Teaching Artist Glen McCarthy is on a mission to educate guitar teachers to inspire more younger students learning to play the guitar.

A professor at George Mason University School of Music, Mr. McCarthy is the executive director of the Teaching Guitar Workshops that aims to train music educators on guitar teaching pedagogies and to support school guitar programs with tools and the networks.



“Students who play guitar are different types of learners compare to all other instrument players,” said Mr. McCarthy. “Guitarists are not traditionally a part of school bands or orchestra. We need to teach guitar differently from other instruments.”

A joint program funded by the National Association of Music Merchants, Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association, and the National Association for Music Education, the Teaching Guitar Workshops welcomed more than 400 directors from school bands, chorus, and orchestras to attend one of 19 workshops across the states. Mr. McCarthy led four workshops in Reston, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Kelowna, Canada.



Mr. McCarthy also presented a seminar on how to set up a state-level guitar ensemble during the annual conference organized by the Guitar Foundation of America, the world’s largest multi-national guitar organization.

Teaching guitar for more than 30 years, Mr. McCarthy was one of the top 10 U.S. music educators recognized by the Grammy Foundation with original pool of 32,000 nominees in 2014. Known by his student-centered teaching style, Mr. McCarthy develops class curriculum based on individual student’s need and interest.

“I embrace all the different approaches in teaching guitar,” said Mr. McCarthy. “I also realize that, depending on the students, some are going to work the better than others.”



Mr. McCarthy will teach Guitar Beginnings (Ages 5-8) and Adult Guitar Classes Level 1 and 2 this fall. He said the approaches for these classes are completely different.

“We need to keep up with interests and tunes of the current generations of guitar learners,” said Mr. McCarthy. “The same pedagogies and music to teach adult learners will not work with students in ages 5-8. We need to find tunes that interest them because I think playing guitar should be joyful.”